The Essentials of Manuscript Preparation

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					  The Essentials of
Manuscript Preparation
     Thierry Olivry, DrVet, PhD
   Scientific Article Writing
Some Questions to be Addressed
 – Where should I publish my article?
 – Who should be an author, in what order?
 – How to make my abstract effective?
 – How long should my introduction be?
 – How detailed should the methods be?
 – Presenting results: tables, figures or text?
 – How should I structure my discussion?
 – How can I deal with so many references?
   Scientific Article Writing
     Where Should I Publish?
– What is the “impact factor”?
  • IF = average number of times articles from the
    journal published in the past two years have
    been cited in the journal citation report year
  • IF = 1.0 means that, on average, the articles
    published one or two year ago have been cited
    one time
  • What is most important? impact factor or most
    relevant readership?
   Scientific Article Writing
     Where Should I Publish?
– Maximizing publication effectiveness:
  • Citation databases: Medline (Pubmed), Web of
    Science, CAB abstracts
  • Favor journals with rapid publication
  • Journals with “e-pubs ahead of print”
  • “Open” journals
      Scientific Article Writing
– Who should be an author?
  •    Uniform requirements for publication in
       biomedical journals (
– Authorship qualifications = 1 + 2 + 3
  1. substantial contributions to conception and
     design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and
     interpretation of data
  2. drafting the article or revising it critically for
     important intellectual content
  3. final approval of the version to be published
      Scientific Article Writing
– Important considerations (ICMJE):
  •    Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or
       general supervision of the research group,
       alone, does not justify authorship
  •    All persons designated as authors should
       qualify for authorship, and all those who
       qualify should be listed
  •    Each author should have participated
       sufficiently in the work to take public
       responsibility for appropriate portions of the
   Scientific Article Writing
           Title and Key-Words
– Title:
  • Must be informative about the study
  • Consider using “hot” words that may be
    searched often
– Key-words:
  • Consider “homonym variation” between title
    and key-words to enhance retrieval chances
  • Examples:
     1.   Discipline: e.g. immunology, allergy
     2.   Species: e.g. dog (or canine)
     3.   Organ: e.g. skin
     4.   Disease: e.g. atopy, pemphigus
     5.   Category: e.g. pathogenesis, treatment, clinical
   Scientific Article Writing
– Important points:
  • Balanced, precise, relevant, accessible
  • Follow journal guidelines!
  • Structured versus narrative
– Example of abstract structure:
  • Background statement: 1-2 sentences
  • Objectives: 1 sentence
  • Method summary: short and to the point!
  • Results: major points
  • Conclusions: implication for research, practice
   Scientific Article Writing
– Important points:
  • Short, relevant, informative, enticing
  • “Hourglass concept”

  • “Sinusoid”, not “ reverse sigmoid”!

  • Start with an outline!
     Scientific Article Writing
– Example of introduction structure:
  • Definition of the problem, disease
  • Importance, prevalence, relevance
  • Areas of controversies
  • Missing information
  • Study objectives
  • Short teaser?
   Scientific Article Writing
         Material & Methods
– Important points:
  • Short, clear, informative, structured
  • How much detail? Enough to permit the
    reproduction of experiments
  • Online supplements
– Example of “Material & Methods” structure:
  • Study subjects, tissues, cells
  • (Main reagents)
  • Techniques 1, 2, 3….
  • Statistical analyses
   Scientific Article Writing
– Important points:
  • Short, clear, informative, structured
  • Text, figures or tables?
  • Avoid duplication of information between text
    tables and figures
  • Avoid discrepancies between text, tables and
  • Don’t discuss the findings yet!

– Example of results structure:
  • Same headings as in material & methods
     Scientific Article Writing
– Main objectives:
  • Should complement the text
  • Should be short and not too wide
  • Not too much information (i.e. not too “tight”)
  • Not too many abbreviations
  • Clear, easily read
  • Should stand alone for comprehension
  • Don’t forget title, caption or abbreviation
    explanation (separate section)
Tables: Which One is Better?
Tables: Which One is Better?
     Scientific Article Writing
– Main objectives:
  • Should complement the text
  • Clear, easily read and understood
  • Should stand alone for comprehension
  • Be artistic! play with composite figures
  • Judicious use of color, grayscale
  • Beware of ethical “enhancements”
  • Minimum resolution: 300 dpi (6-8’’ wide)
  • Don’t forget title, caption or abbreviation
    explanation (separate section)!
Scientific Article Writing

Figure 4: Indirect Immunofluorescence with Canine Sera
Sera from 14 normal control dogs (NCS) Š all without detectable antibodies against canine footpad
epithelium (IIF-) - did not react with either mock (4A) or pND14.DSG1-transfected cells (4C). In
contrast, only five of 83 canine PF sera identified dsg1-expressing cells (4D) but not mock-transfected
cells (4B). Of these 83 sera, 68 had detectable anti-keratinocyte antibodies using epithelial substrates
(IIF+), while 15 did not (IIF-). Bar: 25 micrometers.
   Scientific Article Writing
– Important points:
  • Short, focused, relevant, structured
  • Don’t stray away from your main objectives!
  • “Sterile” versus “emphatic” style
  • Use the richness of the English language!
  • “Hourglass concept”
  • Sinusoid, not reverse sigmoid!

   • Make an outline!
   Scientific Article Writing
– Example of discussion structure:
  • Introductory statement: main results?
  • Paragraphs corresponding to similar sections in
    material & methods and results
  • Implication for research
  • Implication for practice
  • Concluding statement
   Scientific Article Writing
– Important points:
  • Follow journal guidelines for reference format!!!
  • Verify that all in text citations have matching
  • Attempt to use “primary” citations except for
    common knowledge (e.g. “… reviewed in 17)
  • Use reference management software:
    RefWorks, Endnote, Reference Manager
  • Other alternative: Word’s endnote function
    Scientific Article Writing
        Other Important Items
– Acknowledgements:
   • For reagent gifts
   • For technical help
   • For funding source
   • For advice on content or manuscript

– Conflict of interest:
   • May be required
   • List any consulting/lecture honoraria or
     research funding that could have any direct or
     indirect link with the current study
   Scientific Article Writing
– A published article should be the final outcome
  of all (most) research projects:
  • Excellent time to gather all results and “digest”
    them for others
  • Peer-review assessment of your work
  • Availability for present and future generations
  • Important outcome measure for obtaining a
    faculty position and for promotion
– Excellent exercise in penmanship, logic,
  organization and artistry… be creative!
– Follow journal guidelines!!!

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